Research

Learn more about WildFIRE PIRE research:

Science PlanWildFIRE PIRE takes a multidisciplinary approach to transform fire science from a descriptive mode focused on fairly small scales to a deductive hypothesis-testing endeavor that examines linkages at multiple scales. This is the next logical step to meet the challenges posed by global change research agendas. Through science and education partnerships we can start to address questions concerning ecosystem vulnerability and resiliency regionally and globally. We will bring together tools, approaches, and expertise that have been used in traditionally disparate disciplines of fire science (e.g., landscape simulation modeling, charcoal analysis, tree-ring fire reconstructions, human fire uses) to better understand cross-scale patterns, responses and controls of fire. Such an effort is needed from a management perspective to evaluate fire conditions in the future. It is also needed by the global change science community interested in fire’s role as an Earth system process, and it is essential if we are going to train the next-generation of fire scientists and fire managers.

Specifically, WildFIRE PIRE will provide:

  • Better understanding of the direct and indirect role of humans, climate, and fire feedbacks on ecosystem processes that operate at different scales;
  • Information on the historical range of variability of fire conditions necessary to assess current fire activity, risk and hazard in different settings, relative to that of the late 20th century;
  • Opportunities to make broader comparisons with ongoing studies in South America, Africa, Alaska, Pacific Islands, mainland Australia, and other areas of the western U.S., thus greatly expanding the scientific importance of the research;
  • Development of new approaches that link historical with modern fire science and empirical with modeled reconstructions, thereby advancing fire science to the next level through hypothesis testing;
  • Training for current and future international fire scientists and managers, providing educational outreach and making available science information that serves fire management needs;
  • Contributions and continued leadership in NOAA’s International Multiproxy Paleofire Database and other global fire initiatives that build capacity in fire science globally.